Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz scored the first goal in a 2-1 win over the Seattle Kraken in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Monday in Dallas. Photo by Dinur/Wikimedia Commons
May 16 (UPI) -- Forwards Roope Hintz and Wyatt Johnston each scored to lead the Dallas Stars over the Seattle Kraken and into the Western Conference finals.
Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 22 saves in the 2-1 Game 7 victory Monday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Stars won the series 4-3.
"That's playoff hockey," Oettinger told reporters. "You think you are out of it, then next thing you know, you are going to the conference finals. There are lots of ups and downs ahead of us."
The No. 2 Stars will meet the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights on Friday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. The winner of that series will face the top-seeded Carolina Hurricanes or wild card Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final.
Neither team scored through the entire first period or for the first 15:58 of the second. Hintz then beat Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer with 4:01 remaining in the bridge frame to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.
Johnston doubled the Stars advantage 12:48 into the third period. Defenseman Thomas Harley started that play by firing a pass behind the Stars net. Forward Evgenii Dadonov recovered that puck on the other side of the net and sent a long pass up to Johnston near the right circle in front of the Kraken net.
Johnston corralled that feed and flicked a backhanded shot into the right side of the net, beating Grubauer's glove side.
Yanni Gourde assisted fellow forward Oliver Bjorkstrand for the lone Kraken score with 19 seconds remaining.
The Stars and Golden Knights will start Game 1 at 8:30 p.m. EDT Friday in Las Vegas. The Hurricanes-Panthers series will start at 8 p.m. Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.